Drama? You Bet. It wasn't quite down to the wire, but it feels close enough. The Oilers and Ales Hemsky have agreed to a 2 year deal worth $5.0 mil/season, keeping the talented winger in Edmonton for the foreseeable future.
This signing represents what’s hopefully a switch from collecting assets to collecting quality hockey players. It’s not just that Hemsky is a very good player (he is), it’s the fact that the Oilers could have easily traded him for futures of some kind. It would have been easy to justify it to a lot of the fan base, especially with Hemsky’s struggles to produce this year.
Hemsky has had his problems the last few years. He’s had 2 major shoulder injuries, costing him a large part of 2 different years where he was producing very well. He came back this year, hurt himself again and found it tough to find the score sheet.
As the season has progressed, his play has picked up. He finally looks healthy, he’s driving results and is the kind of player that can help give the Oilers a bona fide tough minutes line with almost anyone he plays with.
The Oilers were able to get him on a good term (his contract expires when Nugent-Hopkins does), at a very fair dollar value and this represents one of the first excellent moves the Oilers have made since the Gilbert signing. It doesn’t fix this team, there is still plenty of work, but it was the right move and a step in the right direction!